Hunted elephant found dead in Bago Region
A DEAD elephant was discovered in a Bago Region dam’s reservoir with a poison arrow in its neck on July 29.
The animal’s tusks had not been removed when officials from the Kyauktaga Forestry Department came across it in the reservoir of the Ye Nwe dam in Kyauktaga township.
The tusks were about 16 inches (0.4 metres) long by 5 inches in diameter, said Bago Region Forestry Department assistant director general U Lynn Htin. They were removed from the elephant by the local forestry department and will be handed over to its Union-level counterpart.
“They did not have time to continue with their plans for the dead elephant,” said Kyauktaga Forestry Department head officer U Sann Yu, implying that the killer had poached the animal intending to harvest its ivory tusks.
Those responsible for the killing remain at large. Bago city police and the local forestry department are jointly investigating, U Sann Yu said.
In total, 15 police officers have been assigned to the probe, said Bago city Police Sergeant U Chit Win.
“Maybe it could not climb up out of the water because of the poison wound,” U Sann Yu said. “Elephants are good at swimming. They can usually swim well.”
The Ye Nwe dam is near the side of a mountain in Bago Region that has been designated a forest and elephant conservation zone, an area where many wild elephants roam freely, said U Sann Yu.
On July 30, after a veterinarian completed an autopsy on the elephant, the pachyderm was lifted from the water and its carcass was burned.
The government on June 5 embraced the anti-animal trafficking theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day, with President U Htin Kyaw telling Conservation Department staff at an event marking the occasion, “You must take action to stop it. You really need to do it.”
A June 7 report in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said Myanmar had seen a spike in cases of trading in elephant parts this year, with more than 30 cases, compared to an average of 13 in previous years. The administration has vowed to step up enforcement of prohibitions on poaching and the trade in illicit animal parts, including by closing down a market in Mongla, Shan State, notorious for the exotic and often illegal specimens on offer.
If apprehended, those responsible for the elephant killing in Kyauktaga township will face charges for violating animal protection laws. If convicted, they could face a K50,000 fine and/ or up to seven years in prison.